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     Volume 4 Issue 9 | August 20, 2004 |

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At-Home Workout That Works!

Raphael Calzadilla

If you've suddenly been hit with a busy schedule (because you are travelling on your job, on vacation or just need something quick), I have the workout for you!

I've developed a workout that even Homer Simpson would do. It's simple, quick and absolutely effective! No hour-long sessions in the gym or long bouts of cardio, and no dreading the thought of exercise. Just a realistic alternative to all the noise in the world of fitness that makes us hate exercising. No anatomy lessons today, simply something you can do in your living room or office. The only weight you'll need is your own body.

This series of movements will take about 20 minutes. Yep, you're reading correctly ... just 20 minutes. You can do them 3-4 times per week. That's it! Your entire body will be stimulated, and you'll feel rejuvenated without all the added stress of having to go to the gym.

"I've designed this routine so that one exercise stimulates multiple body parts. This way you'll get the best bang for your buck in the least amount of time. Perform each exercise in succession. After completing one movement, immediately continue to the next one. After you've completed all the movements, perform them one more time. Attempt 20-25 repetitions of each movement. Don't worry if you can't perform all the reps. It will come!

OK, let's go!
1. DECLINE PUSH UPS -- Place your feet hip width apart on a bench or chair. Place your hands shoulder width apart, with elbows bent at 90 degrees and the upper arm parallel with the floor. Your thumbs should be lined up with your chest, and your upper arm should be parallel to the floor.

Be sure to maintain proper alignment throughout the entire range of motion. Avoid sagging in the midsection of your body. Contracting the chest muscles, raise your body until your elbows are slightly bent. Slowly return to the starting position. Exhale while pushing up and inhale while returning to the starting position.

2. LUNGE -- Stand straight with your feet together and hands on your hips. Step forward with the right leg and lower the left leg until the knee almost touches the floor. Contracting the quadriceps muscles, push off your right foot, slowly returning to the starting position. Alternate the motion with the left leg to complete the set. Inhale while stepping forward. Exhale while returning to the starting position. The step should be big enough that your left leg is nearly straight.

Don't let your knee touch the floor. Make sure your head is up and your back is straight. Your chest should be lifted, and your front leg should form a 90-degree angle at the bottom of the movement. Your right knee should not pass your right foot, and you should be able to see your toes at all times. If you have one leg that is more dominant than the other, start out with the less dominant leg first. Discontinue this exercise if you feel any discomfort in your knees.

3. ABDOMINAL BICYCLE MANEUVER -- Lie on a mat with your lower back in a comfortable position. Put your hands on either side of your head by your ears. Bring your knees up to about a 45-degree angle. Slowly go through a bicycle pedaling motion, alternating your left elbow to your right knee -- then your right elbow to your left knee. This is a more advanced exercise so don't worry if you can't perform a lot of them.

Don't perform this activity if it puts any strain on your lower back. Also, don't pull on your head and neck. The lower to the ground your legs bicycle, the harder your abs must work.

4. BENCH DIPS -- Using two benches or chairs, sit on one. Place both palms on the bench with your fingers wrapped around the edge. Place both feet on the other bench. Slide your upper body off the bench with your elbows nearly, but not completely, locked.

Lower your upper body slowly toward the floor until your elbows are bent slightly more than 90 degrees. Contracting your triceps, extend your elbows, returning to the starting position and stopping just short of the elbows fully extending. Inhale while lowering your body and exhale while returning to the starting position. Beginners may want to start with their feet on the floor and knees at a 90-degree angle. As you progress, move your feet out farther until your legs are straight with a slight bend in the knees.

5. ABDOMINAL DOUBLE CRUNCH -- Lie on the floor face up. Bend your knees until your legs are at a 45-degree angle with both feet on the floor. Your back should be comfortably relaxed on the floor. Place both hands crossed on your chest.

Contracting your abdominals, raise your head and legs off the floor toward one another. Slowly return to the starting position, stopping just short of your shoulders and feet touching the floor. Exhale while rising up and inhale while returning to the starting position. Keep your eyes on the ceiling to avoid pulling with your neck. Your hands should not be used to lift the head or assist in the movement.

There you have it! Five exercises performed for two cycles in just 20 minutes! You'll begin to notice a tighter feel in your muscles in a few weeks, and you will naturally perform more reps as time progresses. All in 20 minutes!

Our customized fitness plans are designed to be done anywhere: at home, at the office or at the gym. If you also need some direction with your diet and nutrition plan, our sister company -- eDiets -- can help! With 19 customizable plans, you'll find the right diet for you!

A competitive bodybuilder and former 2001 Mr. Connecticut, Raphael is a veteran of the health and fitness industry who specialises in a holistic approach to body transformation, nutrition programmes and personal training.

Source: eDiets



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